Tunisian President Kais Saied, who has granted himself full powers since last July, amended by decree on Thursday a law regulating the functioning of the supervisory authority of justice and dismissed nearly 60 judges.
A list of 57 judges was published overnight in the Official Journal in a decree justifying their dismissal for "concealment of terrorist cases", "corruption", "sexual harassment", "collusion" with political parties and "disruption of the functioning of justice”. President Saied had previously announced "a historic decision", following a Council of Ministers on Wednesday.
Among the dismissed magistrates who could be the subject of legal proceedings, we find a former spokesperson for the pole of fight against terrorism, a former director general of customs and the former head of the Superior Council of the magistrature.
The dismissals also concern judges who supervised the so-called "secret service" file concerning the investigation into the 2013 assassinations of two left-wing leaders, Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, which has been stalled for years.
Mr. Saïed amended the law that governs the Superior Council of the Judiciary, the supervisory authority of Tunisian justice, to be able to dismiss them, citing an "attack on public security or the supreme interest of the country".
Last February, the president had dissolved the Superior Council of the Judiciary before restoring it on a provisional basis, by changing its composition. It is an independent constitutional body, established in 2016, whose members are elected in majority by Parliament.
Parliament has been dominated since the 2011 Revolution, which toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, by coalitions led by the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, the president's pet peeve.
Mr. Saied also recently changed the composition of the ISIE electoral authority which oversees elections in Tunisia.
Since July 25, 2021, ensuring to act in the interest of the country in the face of numerous politico-economic blockages, Kais Saïed concentrates all the powers and directs the country by decree-laws, raising fears of an autocratic drift in the cradle of the Arab Springs.
To break the impasse caused by his coup, described as a "coup" by his opponents, the president has proposed a roadmap which provides for a referendum on the Constitution on July 25 and early legislative elections on December 17. .
In addition to the political crisis, Tunisia is in the throes of serious economic difficulties, including galloping inflation and very high unemployment. Over-indebted, the country is trying to obtain a new loan from the International Monetary Fund of at least four billion dollars.